Boost for Ja’s medical tourism plan

JAMAICA’S investment and export promotion agency JAMPRO says it has secured technical assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat to undertake the development of a road map for the growth of health and wellness tourism in Jamaica

This, the agency said, will ultimately facilitate the country’s foray into the multi-billion dollar global medical tourism industry.

Under this project, the Commonwealth Secretariat will provide funding to engage the services of a consultant, who will work closely with JAMPRO to identify the critical prerequisites and success factors for the sustainable development of health and wellness tourism in Jamaica.

JAMPRO will be driving the project, in collaboration with the health and tourism ministries, to primarily develop a detailed strategy and action plan aimed at articulating investment promotion and industry development frameworks for the establishment of an internationally competitive health care services cluster.

“As a critical part of our mandate, JAMPRO is charged with not only promoting established sectors for investments, but also identifying and diversifying Jamaica’s offerings for both local and foreign investments. We are committed to increasing employment, and the health and wellness sub-sector presents those opportunities,” said Sancia Bennett-Templer, president of JAMPRO.

She also noted that much research has already been done in the area of medical tourism in Jamaica, with information dating back to the 1990’s. Bennett-Templer emphasised that in partnering with the Commonwealth Secretariat, it was important to update existing information with new findings and avoid reinventing the wheel in the process.

She indicated that great focus would also be placed on developing a plan of action with key initiatives and important deadlines for stakeholders to partner with JAMPRO in executing, so that the required accreditations, guidelines for operation and legal requirements are in place early. This, she pointed out, would make it easy for investors and medical tourists to do business and receive optimal care in Jamaica.

This partnership between the Commonwealth Secretariat and Jamaica represents the latest in a series of projects focused on the socio-economic development in the country. In 2007, JAMPRO collaborated with the Commonwealth Secretariat in the development of a “Strategic Plan for the Promotion of Professional Service Exports in Jamaica”.

According to a study conducted by Deloitte & Touche, as many as 1.6 million Americans could be travelling in 2012 for medical tourism, spending billions of dollars in the process. Many medical tourists are already crossing borders to save up to 90 per cent on the cost of medical care, while still pursuing high quality health care. In the region, countries such as the Cayman Islands, Barbados, Dominican Republic and the Bahamas are already reaping significant results from this industry.

Jamaica Observer

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